Among the many analytical categories bequeathed by linguistics to the study of dialogue, some inadvertently conceal more than they reveal. In addition to instantiating such fictions as speaker and listener or langue and parole, these categories tend to privilege the study of syntax over semantics, utterance over gesture, speaking over listening, and words over everything else. Moreover, our underlying models tend to depict dialogue spatially as a series of sequential exchanges between individual subjects wherein voices are construed in terms of positions, utterances as message-objects, and time as a unidirectional linear sequence. To open up this seemingly solid spatiality, this article reckons with the polymodal, polyphonic, and polychronic aspects of human communication by introducing a concept I call interlistening: movements of dense interactional synchrony wherein listening, speaking, and thinking co-occur with rhythmically textured and cacaphonously con-fused temporality.
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